Constant learning through distance education

Constant learning through distance education

Education is a lifelong process from childhood to old age.  Facilities should be available to citizens in order to take advantage of education and training throughout their life. 

Programmes should be flexible and suited to the needs and convenience of learners.  Even after retirement, people wish to add knowledge to spend rest of their life productively and to heart’s content. To fulfill these requirements, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established in 1985 through an act of the parliament and is run by the central government of India.

Recognition of IGNOU degrees

IGNOU is granted the authority to confer degrees by Clause 5 (1) (iii) of the IGNOU Act 1985. IGNOU is also recognised as a Central University by the University Grants Commission of India (UGC). The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) recognises IGNOU conferred degrees as on par with the degrees conferred by its members.
IGNOU has always been a pioneer in meeting the educational needs of the rural learners, disadvantaged and socio-economically weaker sections.  The University has been offering a number of professional and vocational programmes based on the needs of learners.

The University offers programmes leading to certificate, diploma  or degree, covering conventional as well as innovative programmes.The University follows multi-media approach in imparting instruction to its learners. IGNOU has established a number of  regional centres and study centres throughout the country.  The study centres provide counseling facilities at periodic intervals and act as information centres and examination centres.

Multimedia content at Ignou has matured from audio-video cassettes to content delivered through fibre-optic links, servers and satellites. Lectures delivered at the Maidan Garhi studios are transmitted by one satellite (Edusat) to 182 learning centres in India, broadcast by another (Insat-3 C) on two TV channels and one radio channel. Programmes are transmitted to Africa by optic-fibre , webcast from a server and also accessed through a digital repository. Questions can be asked and answered in real time. A large production studio is being upgraded with high-definition television (HDTV) equipment by the NHK, Japan , under a Japanese grant-in-aid programme.

 For students opting for the distance learning education, it’s an added advantage of seeking another professional or vocational course simultaneously and have two specialisations at the end of three years of graduation course. There are many who need time for self study if they plan to sit for competitive exams.

For the students who are preferably wanting to 'earn while learning', the distance learning programmes are just the right choices on the offer, where the students can enrol themselves for various professional courses while carrying out their jobs. For example, some students go in for journalism courses while contributing to local newspapers and also studying english from any of the open universities.

Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP) is designed to address the school dropouts and those who have not completed 10+2 schooling as part of the non-formal streams. A six-months BPP programme of the IGNOU offers a flexible opportunity to continue higher education for the dropouts. Social Science, Commerce and Mathematics constitute their curriculum.  The learner is expected to  complete any two subjects to become eligible to pursue graduation or diploma from IGNOU.  The medium of instruction is English, Hindi and Marathi.

Today the world is varying at a rapid speed. What we learned two or three decades ago is just not enough even for continued existence in a highly competitive global market. So if you go into the world of work, you still need to continue to learn and re-learn many different things during the course of your professional life. In short, you will need to be lifelong learners if you wish to succeed. You will have to be prepared for making multiple career choices in the ever-changing global economy. So, IGNOU facilitates to achieve all the above  in everyone’s  life.
S Radha

(The writer is the Director, IGNOU Regional Centre, Panaji.)